I’ve been keeping a somewhat regular journal/notebook since around 2003. Coincidentally, that’s about when I started blogging (but not nearly as regularly).
Anyway, I’ve never been real sure about how to format my journal, what to include and leave out, pencil or pen, computer or whatever. Somewhere along the line I came to the conclusion that what I have is not a journal in the classic sense, but more of a commonplace book that includes all kinds of stuff.
Today as I was making my way through the stack o’ stuff in my Reeder feeds, I happened upon this article from The Millions. This part about Lynda Barry helping non-creative people learn to express themselves included this:
I’m turning this over when I come across Lynda Barry’s Syllabus. Barry is a cartoonist, author, and teacher whose recent books are devoted to changing the way people think about their own creativity. Syllabus is based on a workshop Barry teaches called “Writing the Unthinkable.” The main course requirement is keeping a notebook—and not just any kind. Each day’s hand-written entry must contain these items: 1) a list of seven things you did, 2) a list of seven things you saw, 3) something you heard someone say, and 4) a sketch of one item from the “saw” list. Don’t even think about skipping the sketching step.
Much like Jane Van Slembrouck, this approach has been bouncing around in my brain this morning. I think I’ll try it. Here’s my hack, though. I’m going to try to start each day’s entry with Barry’s list, and then keep using the same book for the commonplace items I come across throughout my day. We’ll see.